Mobile Marketing Tip from the 1940’s: How to Simultaneously Advertise to Two Audiences with One Text Message


This from

“Ttlly Brllnt!” mobile marketing idea from the 1940’s.

“The famed florist Max Schling once ran a brilliant ad in The New York Times: The copy, entirely in shorthand, was clipped by thousands of curious businessmen who naturally asked their secretaries for a translation. The ad – addressed to these very secretaries – asked them to remember Schling when the boss wanted flowers for his wife!”

What language do your customers (or their employees) speak? Are you using it to get their attention? I immediately think of IM and text message shorthand when I read the story above. A message to parents of kids (marketing something relevant) would be great in that text-message slang. The parents would take it to their kids for translation and you’ve advertised twice for the price of once. Crafty.


Write Less, Sell More! – Tested Content Development and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Sugar-Free Methods for Selling With Words

Packing marketing documents with hyperbole and sensationalism is like bringing wedding cake to a casual potluck party. And it’s a no-no with content development. People are taken aback by the butter cream frosting, frilly edge treatments and impeccably placed rose petals. The sheer volume of sugar sets them up for a crash. Also, the bride and groom replica thing and the plastic pillar supports can be hard to swallow.

When it comes to offering quickly digestible and easily understood messages, it’s best to lay off of the puffery. Potential buyers want substance, clarity and brevity when making decisions about products and services.

Here’s how to de-fluff your marketing materials so your prospects know that you’re serious and committed – rather than a wild storyteller or worse, a prevaricator.

  1. Make claims after you’ve established familiarity with the prospect’s business problems and expertise in dealing with them.
  2. Honesty, brevity and matter-of-fact tone establish expertise and clear the air of smoke (or frosting).
  3. Understated selling works well because it’s honest, but it also stands out in the crowd of rah-rah materials.
  4. State benefits up high.
  5. Make sure benefits are in a language that the audience understands, and make sure that they address issues that prospects appreciate.
  6. Make clear connections between features and benefits.
  7. Tell a complete story. You never know how much or little a reader will ingest. Make sure that you provide all examples, features and benefits that will apply to your intended audience. If you leave out important information, you’ll alienate the one person who read the whole brochure and was looking for that one selling point.
  8. Make simple offers with a minimum of conditions.

Champagne, pomp, confetti and ribbon cutting are fine for political rallies and building dedications. Content development and marketing writing should be kept simple and unadorned, though. The subject matter will provide the right amount of interest to the right prospects.

4 Forgotten Facts in the Age of Social Media Marketing – David Ogilvy

From Ogilvy On Advertising, one of the ad world’s most famous texts. So applicable today with social media marketing (SMM)

  • Companies sometimes change ad agencies because one agency can purchase circulation at a slightly lower cost than another. They don’t realize that a copywriter who knows his craft (the experience and skill that induce people to read copy) can reach many times more readers than a copywriter who doesn’t.
  • Ads that are designed to look like editorial pages gather far more readers than those that don’t.
  • Never put large amounts of white type on a black background (reverse). Some say never do it, period. Study after study has proven that it’s difficult to read.
  • Write to the self-interest of the reader rather than treating your audience as a large company or group of people.

Should you take business advice from a dead Republican? Teddy Roosevelt Quote

A lot of people that start businesses get really excited about making millions and taking the world by storm.

It’s more likely, however, that your business will grow organically. You’ll chip away at daily tasks, improve your marketing skills, create better offers over time, and generally plant seeds at a pace you can handle. Then you’ll wait out the growing seasons to reap better rewards and profits each time around. It will all snowball, and you’ll be making great dough in due time.

It’s just not going to happen all at once.

I like to keep a Teddy Roosevelt quote in mind when I’m building my own business and helping others add to their bottom lines:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Great advice. If you show up every day and put in the necessary work to keep the wheels going, you’ll do fine. And you’ll find that what you have will become better every day (knowledge, resources, contacts, customers) and where you are will improve from week to week.

Critical Layout, Design and Typography Concepts for Content Publishers

When I think about design, layout and presentation, there are two books that I frequently come back to:

1) Colin Wheildon’s Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making Pretty Shapes

2) Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

Wheildon’s book is a frontal assault on the lame-o typography mistakes that continue to occur today (especially in the amateur design Web arena). His findings are backed up by in-depth research about comprehension and reader retention.

Reynolds’ book is a more elegant assault on similar miscues in the world of PowerPoint and Keynote… or just presentations in general.

My simple recommendation?

Buy these books. Dog-ear these books. Keep them near Strunk and White. Savor them, review them, revere them, spoon them.

They’re gold and will help you win projects and the hearts of your clients.

Here’s a taste from Presentation Zen that talks about the “picture superiority effect”:

“When information recall is measured just after exposure to a series of pictures or a series of words, the recall for pictures and words is about equal. However, the picture superiority effect applies when the time after exposure is more than 30 seconds, according to research cited in Universal Principles of Design (Rockport Publishers). ‘Use the picture superiority effect to improve the recognition and recall of key information. Use pictures and words together, and ensure that they reinforce the same information for optimal effect,’ say the authors… The effect is strongest when the pictures represent common, concrete things.”

And from Wheildon’s masterpiece:

“.. the average advertisement is read by only four percent of the people on their way through the publication it appears in. Most of the time this is the fault of the so-called “art director” who designs advertisements. If he is an aesthete at heart – and most of them are – he doesn’t care a damn if anybody reads the words. He regards them as mere elements in his pretty design. In many cases he blows away half the readers by choosing the wrong type. But he doesn’t care. He should be boiled in oil.” [my emphasis]

These two guys think deeply about design, and they offer lots of undeniable proof for their theses.

If you’re a copywriter, art director, Web designer, SEO monger, marketing director (or VP or CMO), or a layout/design guru, please pick these up and study them. Your job is not finished when you complete your piece of the creative puzzle. You need to understand the other disciplines to make sure you’ve created something that’s usable, appreciated, and understood by your consuming audiences.

Do you have any other book recommendations that are crucial for publishing/Web development creatives? Please comment below and share your favorites. Thanks – Phil.

Does unpleasant interruption make something more pleasant? New Neuromarketing

Everyone loves to talk about how they avoid TV commercials by using DVRs or Tivo, how they don’t subscribe to magazines and newspapers anymore, how they eliminate Web ads with special software and pop-up blockers . .  However, some recent studies suggest that interrupting a pleasant experience with something less pleasant can intensify a person’s overall pleasure. Could it be that TV commercials make TV watching more fun? This is just one new area of study that’s been catching fire over the past few years — NEUROMARKETING.

“The punch line is that commercials make TV programs more enjoyable to watch. Even bad commercials,” said Leif Nelson, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-author of the new research.

This is pretty fascinating stuff. Part of the thesis here is that pleasure recedes when routine sets in. Novelty and interruption break that up.

There are even more important implications for “experience marketing,” which is one of the fastest growing segments of the products and services world (people are more interested in gathering experiences these days, as opposed to “stuff”).

Good news for advertisers and marketers?

What are your thoughts?

9 Wise Quotes from the Advertising World

Mark Twain image quotes copywriting advertising marketing

These gems from Jack Forde’s Copywriter’s roundtable newsletter. The most anticipated email in my inbox.

“Many a small thing has been made large by the
right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

“Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no
one.” – Adlai Stevenson

“Yes, I sell people things they don’t need. I
can’t, however, sell them something they don’t
want.” – John O’Toole

“Everyone is in sales… whatever area you work
in, you DO have clients and you DO need to sell.” –
Jay Abraham

“Advertising people who ignore research are as
dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy
signals.” – David Ogilvy

“I once used the word ‘obsolete’ in a headline,
only to discover that 43% of housewives had no idea
what it meant. In another headline I used the word
‘ineffable,’ only to discover that I didn’t know
what it meant myself.” – David Ogilvy

“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t
want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to
your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.” – David

“Committees can criticize advertisements, but they
should never be allowed to create them.” David

“For a business not to advertise
is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what
you are doing but no one else does.” – Stuart Britt


Liberation through flexibility: Marketing strategy for a changing world

woman stretching flexibility marketing business strategy

“Giving up the illusion that you can predict the future is a very liberating moment. All you can do is give yourself the capacity to respond. . . the creation of that capacity is the purpose of strategy.”

— Lord John Browne

This quote applies to a lot of things. I couldn’t help but think about marketing projects and small business in general, though.

When you’re in the writing and/or marketing business, you have to adapt to so many different people and projects. Only the flexible – those who respond positively despite what came before – keep getting good work and building business.

Do it NOW – Value your customer’s success!

Girls toyota jumping marketing article success story case study

I’m a fan of Seth Godin’s books. I don’t get paid anything to promote them, but I just end up doing that because I read them and always find a few gems of wisdom within.

The marketing/advertising/good-business books are light, airy and fast paced. They’re not chock full of compelling research or detailed justification, but that’s part of the reason they’re good. They don’t weigh you down, and, for some reason, they come across as authoritative anyway.

They’re also very entertaining – in the way a light, sophisticated comedy film or a smart sitcom is. Godin’s books may be a part of a new book genre – business books that instruct yet seem like entertainment. Curious stuff.

The one I’m reviewing right now is called The Big Moo. Here’s a takeaway that I stumbled across (It’s nothing new, but he puts it aptly and it’s a good reminder for all of us in marketing):

“Customers sometimes love the simple stuff, having a human answer the phone on the first ring, receiving work ahead of time… and getting a special thank you reminding them that you value more than their business… you value their success.” [my emphasis added]

I’m going to take this advice today and reach out to some of my business customers with this very message. I do value their success, and every brochure and white paper I write for them is an attempt to win them more business.

By the way, I value your success, too. This blog is designed for that express purpose. And if you bought the eBay Marketing book, I appreciate your business. If you’ve read it, you’ll see that it’s designed to help you sell more and bring in more profits. Your success is my success. It’s written for all kinds of online and offline sellers, so don’t let the eBay title fool you. There are lots of gems in there.

If you’ve found the book valuable, please spread the word. And comment to this blog or email me ( if you have some examples of how you’ve put some of the strategies to work.

Enjoy the weekend!



How to Eliminate Honesty from Your Copy and Gain Trust

Don’t you love it when people sprinkle the words “honestly” and “frankly” into their conversation? It sounds like rookie car salesman banter.

When written in marketing copy, the effect is even more disturbing. It often shows up in these forms: “in truth,” “truthfully,” “to be completely frank,” and “quite frankly.” It’s supposed to sound conversational, but ends up arousing suspicion.

On further examination, these words often point to areas in the text where confidence is lacking. Go back and purge them from your copy and try to figure out what’s bothering you about the promises you’re making.

Cut the conversational salesman speak and just make claims that you know your products and services will back up. It’s easier that way. If you follow my advice, your writing will connect with readers a bit more. If you don’t, well, frankly I don’t give a damn.